Marlene Dietrich - Rotten Tomatoes

Marlene Dietrich

Highest Rated:   100% Marlene (1984)
Lowest Rated:   33% The Garden of Allah (1936)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Berlin-Schöneberg, Germany
At the peak of her career in the 1930s, Marlene Dietrich was the screen's highest-paid actress; moreover, she was also the very essence of cinematic eroticism, a beguiling creature whose almost supernatural allure established her among film's most enduring icons. While immensely sensual, Dietrich's persona was also strangely androgynous; her fondness for masculine attire -- suits, top hats, and the like -- not only spawned a fashion craze, it also created an added dimension of sexual ambiguity which served to make her even more magnetic. Born Maria Magdalena Dietrich outside of Berlin on December 27, 1901, she was the daughter of a Royal Prussian Police lieutenant. As a child, she studied the violin, and later tenured at the Deutsche Theaterschule. She made her film debut with a brief role in 1923's Der Kleine Napoleon, followed by a more substantial performance in Tragodie der Liebe; she later married the picture's casting director, Rudolf Sieber. After a series of other tiny roles, including an appearance in G.W. Pabst's 1924 effort Die Freudlose Gasse, Dietrich briefly retired; by 1926, however, she was back onscreen in Manion Lescaut, later followed by Alexander Korda's Madame Wuenscht Keine Kinder. After returning to the stage, Dietrich resumed her film career, typically cast as a coquettish socialite; still, she remained better known as a live performer, enjoying great success singing the songs of Mischa Spoliansky in a popular revue. Then, according to legend, director Josef von Sternberg claimed to have discovered her appearing in the cabaret Zwei Kravatten, and cast her in his 1930 film Der Blaue Engel; even before the picture premiered, von Sternberg offered a rough cut to his American studio Paramount, who signed her for Morocco, where she played a cabaret singer romancing both Adolph Menjou and Gary Cooper. Both films premiered in New York almost simultaneously, and overnight Dietrich was a star. Paramount signed her to a more long-term contract, at a cost of 125,000 dollars per film and with von Sternberg, who had become her lover, in the director's seat of each. The studio, in an unprecedented five-million-dollar publicity blitz, marketed her as a rival to Greta Garbo's supremacy; upon learning that Garbo was starring as Mata Hari, Paramount cast Dietrich as a spy in 1931's Dishonored in response. The follow-up, 1932's Shanghai Express, was Dietrich and von Sternberg's biggest American success. With Cary Grant, she then starred in Blonde Venus, but when the picture did not meet studio expectations, Paramount decided to separate the star from her director. Not only their working relationship was in a state of flux -- von Sternberg's wife unsuccessfully sued Dietrich (who had left her husband behind in Germany) for "alienation of affection" and libel. For Rouben Mamoulian, she starred in 1933's The Song of Songs amidst a flurry of rumors that she was on the verge of returning to Germany - no less than Adolf Hitler himself had ordered her to come back. However, Dietrich remained in the States, and her films were consequently banned in her homeland. Instead, she played Catherine the Grea in von Sternberg's 1934 epic The Scarlet Empress; it was a financial disaster, as was their follow-up, the lavish The Devil Is a Woman. In its wake, von Sternberg announced he had taken Dietrich as far as he could, and begged off of future projects. A much-relieved Paramount set about finding her projects which would be more marketable, if less opulent. The first was the 1936 romantic comedy Desire, directed by Ernst Lubitsch. It was a hit, with all indications pointing to comedy as the best direction for Dietrich's career to take. Again with Lubitsch, she began work on I Loved a Soldier, but after a few days, production was halted after she refused to continue following a number of changes to the script. Instead, Dietrich next starred in the Technicolor remake of The Garden of Allah, followed by Korda's Knight Without Armour. Reu

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Martin Roumagnac (The Room Upstairs)
  • Actor
2011
No Score Yet Die Frau, nach der man sich sehnt (Three Loves)
  • Actor
2010
No Score Yet Why Be Good? Sexuality and Censorship in Early Cinema
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet Marlene Dietrich: An Evening With
  • Actor
2004
100% Marlene
  • Actor
1984
No Score Yet Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo (Just A Gigolo)
  • Baroness von Samering
1979
No Score Yet Obyknovennyy fashizm (Triumph Over Violence)
  • Actor
1968
57% Paris When It Sizzles
  • Herself
1964
No Score Yet The Black Fox
  • Narrator
1963
90% Judgment at Nuremberg
  • Mme. Bertholt
1961
96% Touch of Evil
  • Tanya
1958
100% Witness for the Prosecution
  • Christine Helm Vole
1957
No Score Yet The Montecarlo Story (Montecarlo)
  • Maria de Crevecoeur
1957
74% Around the World in 80 Days
  • Hostess
1956
100% Rancho Notorious
  • Altar Keane
1952
No Score Yet No Highway in the Sky
  • Monica Teasdale
1951
89% Stage Fright
  • Charlotte Inwood
1950
No Score Yet Jigsaw
  • Nightclub Patron
1949
100% A Foreign Affair
  • Erika von Schluetow
1948
No Score Yet Golden Earrings
  • Lydia
1947
No Score Yet Kismet
  • Jamilla
1944
No Score Yet Pittsburgh
  • Josie Winters
1942
No Score Yet The Spoilers
  • Cherry Malotte
1942
No Score Yet The Lady Is Willing
  • Elizabeth Madden
1942
No Score Yet The Flame of New Orleans
  • Countess Claire Ledoux, aka Lili
1941
No Score Yet Manpower
  • Fay Duval
1941
No Score Yet Seven Sinners
  • Bijou Blanche
1940
100% Destry Rides Again
  • Frenchy
1939
No Score Yet Angel
  • Maria Barker
1937
No Score Yet Knight Without Armour
  • Alexandra Vladinoff
1937
33% The Garden of Allah
  • Domini Enfilden
1936
No Score Yet Desire
  • Madeleine de Beaupre
1936
78% The Devil Is a Woman
  • Concha Perez
1935
90% The Scarlet Empress
  • Princess Sophia Frederica/Catherine II
1934
No Score Yet The Song of Songs
  • Lily Czepanek
1933
57% Blonde Venus
  • Helen Faraday/Helen Jones
1932
100% Shanghai Express
  • Shanghai Lily
1932
100% Dishonored
  • Marie Kolverer
1931
100% Morocco
  • Amy Jolly
1930
94% Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel)
  • Lola Frohlich
1930
No Score Yet Woman Men Yearn For
  • Stasha
1929
No Score Yet Ship of Lost Men
  • Actor
1929
75% The Joyless Street
  • Extra
1925
No Score Yet Comradeship
  • Actor
1919

Quotes from Marlene Dietrich's Characters